Slum Razed Near Anand Parbat in West Delhi
DDA Calls in the Police in Large Numbers While Case is Still Pending in High Court
Activists and Slum Dwellers Lathi-charged and Arrested
On Friday, the 20th of April, agitated residents from the slum located in Gayatri Colony (Gulshan Chowk), near Anand Parbat industrial area, watched with horror and helplessness as bulldozers cleared away a large portion of the slum cluster. Resisting the sudden and brazen move of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the impoverished residents of the slum tried to fight back and save their belongings. However, they were overpowered by a large deployment of Delhi Police.
The Police, numbering almost 3000, resorted to a brutal lathicharge. At this moment, the Police has left several injured, and has also arrested six activists of the Ghar Bachao Morcha. The Ghar Bachao Morcha was formed from amongst the slum dwellers of Anand Parbat last year in March, when the DDA had made similar attempts to displace the residents. Most of the residents of this slum cluster are impoverished workers who are employed in the nearby factories of Anand Parbat. Last year when the DDA’s designs of displacement became clear, the residents organized themselves under the banner of the Ghar Bachao Morcha, and had demonstrated outside the DDA headquarters in Vikas Sadan. Realizing that the residents had filed a case in the High Court, the DDA temporarily withdrew its offensive. However suddenly, despite the case pending in Court, a demolition drive has begun again.
Apart from the six activists arrested, several residents of the slum were detained. Nevertheless, due to the pressure of the residents’ agitation, the DDA has, as of now, withdrawn from the site. Since the slum dwellers gheraoed the Anand Parbat thana, the Police were compelled to release the six activists from Ghar Bachao Morcha.
Unfortunately, a bleak future looms ahead of the slum dwellers, as even judicial proceedings fail to offer them protection and respite from the clutches of a building corporation determined to push through high income housing projects and construction of malls and shopping arcades. Housing for the poor and protection of their existing residence is hardly of concern to the urban development authorities. Realizing this, the slum dwellers are all the more determined to keep their struggle going so as to protect their right of residence in the city.
Ghar Bachao Morcha
House No.T-44, Near Gopal Dairy, Baljeet Nagar, New Delhi-110008.